Legal development

Unprecedented order for the compulsory appointment of a CRO in Singapore restructuring proceedings

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    In a market first, the Singapore High Court recently ordered the compulsory appointment of a Chief Restructuring Officer ("CRO") to steer troubled commodities trader Antanium Resources Pte Ltd ("Antanium") forward in a debtor-in-possession process that has been in place since December 2020.1 In its orders, the Court also granted the CRO extensive powers with a view to progressing Antanium's restructuring and promoting transparency with its creditors. Ashurst ADTLaw is advising a creditor in Antanium's restructuring.

    Whilst common in the US, UK and European markets, the appointment of a CRO is still relatively rare (though not unheard of) in the Asian restructuring market. Experience in the US, the UK and Europe demonstrates that a CRO's appointment can promote transparency and re-balance stakeholder dynamics while at the same time keeping existing management in place. Viewed in this light, the CRO can bring a distinctive benefit through more consensual negotiations and disclosures of information that tend to be crucial in debtor-in-possession processes. The fact that the Singapore Court has ordered a CRO's appointment despite the absence of any statutory framework for such a role should be commended and demonstrates a judicial openness to out-of-the-box solutions to common restructuring problems.

    The Court's latest orders in Antanium also add to a range of decisions in recent years (both reported and unreported) on first-to-market applications of rescue financing,2 pre-packaged schemes, and lock-up agreements.3 This development signals yet more willingness on the part of the Singapore courts to advance the full suite of tools available in the Singapore restructuring playbook.


    Please feel free to reach out to any of your Ashurst ADTLaw contacts to discuss this and other exciting developments in the Singapore restructuring market. 

    Authors: Rob Child, Jean Woo, Karan Puri and Lorraine Koh

    1. HC/OS 1285/2020.
    2. See, for example, Re Design Studio Group Ltd [2020] SGHC 148, on the first "roll-up" rescue financing to be approved in Singapore; Re Kobian Pte Ltd (HC/OS 1269/2020), unreported at the time of writing, on the possibility that the court may dismiss an application for moratorium protection if it considers that the intended compromise is not "feasible" for the purposes of section 64 of the Insolvency, Restructuring and Dissolution Act 2018.
    3. See Re Brightoil Petroleum (S'pore) Pte Ltd [2022] SGHC 35, in which the court allowed a pre-packaged scheme of arrangement relying on lock-up agreements to secure creditor support for the scheme. A summary of the Court's decision can be found  here.

    This is a joint publication from ADTLaw LLC (a Singapore law practice) and Ashurst LLP who together form Ashurst ADT Law, which is a Formal Law Alliance in Singapore.

    Ashurst LLP is licensed to operate as a foreign law practice in Singapore. Where advice on Singapore law is required, Ashurst LLP will refer the matter to and work with ADTLaw LLC or other licensed Singapore law practices where necessary.

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    This material is current as at 28 June 2022 but does not take into account any developments to the law after that date. It is not intended to be a comprehensive review of all developments in the law and in practice, or to cover all aspects of those referred to, and does not constitute legal advice. The information provided is general in nature, and does not take into account and is not intended to apply to any specific issues or circumstances. Readers should take independent legal advice. No part of this publication may be reproduced by any process without prior written permission from Ashurst. While we use reasonable skill and care in the preparation of this material, we accept no liability for use of and reliance upon it by any person.


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